It is important to remember how we got here tonight.
Four years ago, I spoke with many of you about the direction of our City. St. Louis was losing residents and jobs faster than almost any other city in the country. Our city services, once the envy of the region, had lost their focus - and, some say, their fairness. Our neighborhoods, while still unique, were mostly undervalued and unappreciated.
Listening to you; measuring your strong resolve and good intentions, buoyed by your hope and courage, I ran for mayor with a Plan to make us a great city again.
And, you elected me four years ago to begin that work.
We believed - together - that we could do better if we followed the Plan.
And, you know what? We are doing better.
We have an incredible building boom going on in our City. We have reduced crime; taken on absentee landlords; strengthened neighborhoods; brought re-investment back to north St. Louis; and improved the efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of City government.
We’ve stabilized the precipitous population decline of the last 50 years.
And, we have begun the difficult process of rescuing the public schools from decades of bloated payrolls and mismanagement.
Tonight, we have been given four more years. Four years to build on our new strengths. Four years to build new partnerships. Four years to make St. Louis a truly great City.
We have a whole lot more to do.
In the days and weeks ahead, I look forward to talking to you about the rest of the Plan.
Tonight, though, we have a different purpose.
I would like to begin a well deserved party by thanking some of the people who made this victory possible.
My family - my parents, my wife, and my children . . .
My friends and supporters - too numerous to name.
My City Hall staff . . .
Our friends at the Board of Aldermen and in the City offices . . .
My campaign staff . . .
The hundreds of volunteers and donors who were the energy and the fuel of the campaign.
None of this would have been possible without all of you.
So, thank you all - family, staff, and friends. If you are here, I am going to try to shake your hand tonight.
But, before I start all that handshaking, I would like thank two people whose counsel was always wise: Charlie Dooley, the St. Louis county executive; and Imam Muhamed Hasic, the spiritual leader of the region’s Muslim Bosnian community.
I value them for their insight and their strength of character, but I point them out to you because they represent two very different elements essential to our City’s future: the cooperation of the City and county to address our common problems and pool our strengths; and the celebration of the increasingly diverse character of our City and our region.
We will be a truly great City only if we all - City and county, white and black, immigrant and native - work together.
OK. I’m ready to start that handshaking now. There’s plenty to eat and drink. Smash is a great band. And the evening is still young.